The video, some of the most graphic police footage to emerge in years, stoked outrage nationwide and put the nation's third-largest city at the center of the debate about police misconduct and use of force.
McDonald was carrying a small knife with its blade folded, but a police video capturing the incident showed the teenager appearing to walk away from police when he was shot.
All of this was deemed necessary even though, as WBEZ's Natalie Moore noted on Twitter, there hasn't been a full-fledged riot in Chicago in 50 years, and while plenty of activists took to the streets after the 2015 release of the video showing Van Dyke shooting McDonald, the marches were overwhelmingly peaceful.
Before Judge Vincent Gaughan dismissed them for the day Thursday evening, jurors requested a transcript of testimony from former Officer Joseph Walsh, Van Dyke's partner the night of McDonald's death. The jury - comprised of eight woman and four men - seven White, three Hispanic, one Asian and one Black.
Van Dyke was charged with first degree-murder in the October 2014 killing, a charge that requires a finding that the shooting was unnecessary and unreasonable.
One said Van Dyke needed to "contain the situation, not escalate it".
Van Dyke faces at least 15 years for the murder conviction and between six and 30 years for each of the 16 aggravated battery charges. The video, played repeatedly at trial, shows Van Dyke opening firing.
Chicago is bracing for protests. Van Dyke was found not guilty of official misconduct.
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At one point Harry came down to shake the kids hands and their teachers' hand and things got a little awkward. They also visited the Survivor's Network charity , which supports those who have suffered sexual abuse.
Gleason said Van Dyke had made up his mind about what he'd do before even arriving at the scene.
But, in a move not uncommon at IL murder trials, Judge Vincent Gaughan told jurors before they began deliberating that they could consider the charge of second-degree murder.
Called The Laquan McDonald Camera Act if the bill is passed, any law enforcement agency that does not comply with the dash cam policy is taxed 10 percent of federal funding unless certification is provided to the U.S. Attorney General.
Van Dyke, 40, was the first Chicago officer to be convicted of murder for an on-duty shooting in 48 years.
The police department had prepared for demonstrations in the event of a not guilty verdict, but after dialogue with community organisers senior officers told local media they did not anticipate any plans for organised violence or destruction. Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired the police superintendent and a Justice Department investigation found a "pervasive cover-up culture" in the Chicago Police Department, which is headed for federal reforms.
In September, ahead of Mr Van Dyke's trial, Mayor Emanuel announced he would not run for re-election. "Should this occur, it may create potentially risky situations around the city".
"The people's cup has run over with these police violations of people's rights", he said.
What Van Dyke saw "was a black boy walking down the street. having the audacity to ignore the police", McMahon said.
It has placed officers on 12-hour shifts in anticipation of the trial's outcome.